Mubarak: Netanyahu Proposed Settling Palestinians in Sinai

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm El Sheich, June 2011. (Moshe Milner/GPO)

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Wednesday that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in 2010 proposed to him a plan for settling Palestinians in Sinai as part of a land swap with the Palestinian Authority, Ynet reported.

Pres. Mubarak claimed that he had rejected the offer outright: “During that meeting, I immediately told him in no uncertain terms that I wouldn’t even hear of such offers in that context.”

Pres. Mubarak’s statement served to confirm previous reports of the Netanyahu proposal; however it was at variance with a BBC report, which said that he had agreed to it on condition that it would be part of a comprehensive peace agreement.

In addition, the BBC revealed that the deposed Egyptian leader had been receptive to a similar suggestion back in 1983, during a meeting with then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Documents obtained by the news network through a freedom of information law appeared to also confirm that Pres. Mubarak had, at least in principle, agreed to resettle Palestinians from Lebanon in the Sinai Peninsula, at the behest of the United States.

Nevertheless, on Wednesday he denied those reports.

“The claims that Egypt or I had agreed to settle the Palestinians in Egypt, and particularly those who were then in Lebanon, are groundless,” said Pres. Mubarak. “There were efforts made by some to convince me to settle some of the Palestinians—who at the time were in Lebanon—in Egypt. I utterly refused.”

Pres. Mubarak, now 89, was released from prison last March after a sentence of life imprisonment for conspiracy in the killings of demonstrators during the “Arab Spring” protests of 2011 was overturned in a retrial.